Lana Hirschowitz writes an open letter to her 12 year-old son, thanking him for teaching her more than she could ever have imagined.
My only son recently turned 12. It’s pretty old when I think about how quickly it’s all passed, it seems like only yesterday I didn’t know half of the stuff that I know today. So much stuff, so much that I thought I’d write it down—just so I never forget it.
Today is your birthday and although I tell you every day how much I love you, today I want to tell you that a million times over. And I want to thank you for all the things you’ve taught me – one for each year….
Love – You have taught me true, unconditional and overwhelming love. A love like no other. Every time you tell me you love me I tell you I love you more, and when you try to tell me that I don’t, I have to explain how you couldn’t possibly love me more than I love you. “It’s impossible” I say and although you laugh (and sometimes it turns into a 20 minute word game of who loves who more) you will never be able to understand how much I love you. It’s not possible. Maybe when you have your own children. Maybe then…
Strength – If anybody had told me before I had children that my own child would be born premature and spend the first two months of his life in hospital I would have dismissed it. It couldn’t happen to me – I would never be able to handle it. But I did. I handled it without even thinking about it and every obstacle we have had in our way I have handled because doing it for you makes the mountains seem like slides. It’s easy to do it for you.
Patience – Okay so maybe I still have some way to go on this one but I am getting there. You and me both. I know you’re going to find it hard to believe that I’ve become more patient – but I have. And I am going to continue trying
Joy – There is no person on this earth that I know that loves their own lives quite as much as you do. It is just amazing to watch you fill your every minute with joy. You are passionate about life and it makes me happy from the inside to watch you live your life.
The value of our family – I often say to you and dad when we are just sitting at home all together and eating dinner or watching TV or just, you know, doing nothing that THIS is my favourite time. You made us a family and you show me every day how important it is to me. And sometimes it’s not just the three of us but your aunts, your uncles, your grandparents and your cousins – you bring us together and you make us work. And you make us ALL feel blessed and happy.
Friendship – To think that I ever worried about you being shy and lonely! But you were – shy, not lonely as a little kid. You went to pre-school and you clung on to Gaby and then Ilan and I worried that you wouldn’t cope without them, that you wouldn’t develop other friendships. But in hindsight I see that you were just learning about true and deep friendship and now that you have the biggest friendship circle I know, I can see just how important those very tight friendships were to you because you treat every one of your friends with the same commitment and love that you did for your two “only” friends in pre-school. You love your friends, you are kind to them, you genuinely care about them and you make them laugh and they love you for it. You are the best friend a child could have and I am so proud of that every single day.
The ability to whistle while you work – You might not believe this one because I can be quite, er, stern about homework, but in truth I learn from watching you do your homework with one eye on the ball literally (how is that passion for playing with a ball!) and one eye on your work. Even doing mundane tasks like the shopping becomes a game. Hello Tetris at the check out. You seriously bring joy to everything you do – even spelling homework, and that my angel, is a true gift.
It’s not all about food – A hard one for me. I am a Jewish mother and I like to feed. And you know how much I like to eat. You? Not so much. It’s been a battle, no doubt about that, and though I’ll never stop trying to get you to eat a full meal, you’ve shown me that there is more to meal times than just getting as much food into you as you can – it’s also about being together. And laughing. And playing endless restaurant games. And bribing you to eat vegetables.
It doesn’t really matter what the outside world says – You don’t sweat the small stuff – you move on at a rapid pace. Your belief in yourself, your ability and your virtues is amazing and it really doesn’t matter what some one says or does in passing. You deal with it and move right on. Water off a duck’s back – I’m constantly watching and learning.
Compassion – As much as you don’t sweat the small stuff you show tremendous compassion for the people around you and for your family. And you show it in the most unexpected and delightful ways like when you protect me, your mother – the one that should be protecting you, from the things you know will cause me distress – like puppies in pet shops , animals in distress, people suffering on the news or trees being felled (although I think I really did want to see how that tree landed the other day). You care deeply and sensitively about other people and their feelings. Inspiring – honestly.
Commitment – It’s not just the tae-kwondo classes you’ve been attending twice a week since you were 4, or the way you practice your moves every waking minute of the day but the way you commit yourself to everything that you do. You spend as much time trying to beat a game on your x-box as you do on perfecting the splits. You are as committed to your friends as you are to your family. You have lessons there you could share with the world.
Humour – It’s been said that a sense of humour is a sign of intelligence. If that is true then you should be waiting by the phone for MENSA to call. Your ability to make people laugh is superior to anyone else’s that I know, except for me (and we both know that when daddy is reading this he’ll be saying he’s funnier than both of us.) But truly you make me laugh and your comprehension and insight into the world comes out in your humour like a light that shines on to every one around you.
Happy Birthday my most beautiful child in the world. I love you more than you love me and it’s not impossible.
Love your mum
Originally appeared at iVillage Australia
photo: Flickr/Will Clayton